1+1+1 = A Novel Nordic Collaboration

Unlike most collaborations where to varying degrees designers are required to give up their egos for the greater good - sometimes delivering an amazing outcome, on others producing something fundamentally mediocre - 1+1+1 have created a collaboration that allows total autonomy while still delivering unexpected outcomes. Intrigued?......read on.

 1+1+1 - Three design studios from three different Nordic countries collaborate to produce 27 objects in one category. Shown are the latest in this ongoing project - candlesticks by Petra Lilja, Aalto Aalto & Hugdetta.

1+1+1 - Three design studios from three different Nordic countries collaborate to produce 27 objects in one category. Shown are the latest in this ongoing project - candlesticks by Petra Lilja, Aalto Aalto & Hugdetta.

There is a children's drawing game called 'Exquisite Corpse' (or the 'The Drawing Game') that folds a piece of paper in three and each person playing the game gets to draw a part of the figure in turn - first the head, then body, then feet. When the final part is finished the resulting form is revealed to general hilarity. 1+1+1's collaboration is quite similar, although only on rare occasions do the the pairings make you laugh. For the most part they are just unconventional but interesting and sometimes they are perfect.

 Like tiny robots or bizarre trophies, the candlesticks morph from one thing to the next delivering new shapes and unexpected material combinations - sometimes quite sensational and sometimes just weird.

Like tiny robots or bizarre trophies, the candlesticks morph from one thing to the next delivering new shapes and unexpected material combinations - sometimes quite sensational and sometimes just weird.

The three design studios involved, Petra Lilja from Sweden, Aalto Aalto from Finland and Hugdetta from Iceland, are given free reign to design exactly what they want within a a simple framework. They all work on the same type of object with a common joining dimension or component allowing for an easy MASH UP with a possible 24 of them resulting from the three original objects.

 Holy shit that's a lot of different candlesticks! There are so many good ones but for some strange reason I am magnetically drawn to any example with a blue loop. The only problem remains which one is THE one...

Holy shit that's a lot of different candlesticks! There are so many good ones but for some strange reason I am magnetically drawn to any example with a blue loop. The only problem remains which one is THE one...

All told 27 unique and unexpected objects are possible. The results, given the blind nature of the pairings, are surprisingly good, providing ample scope for personal preference without significantly effecting the potential cost of producing the items. As a model the idea is now quite refined as the candlesticks variation is the fourth in the 1+1+1 collaborative series.

 Some of the 1+1+1 candlesticks on show at Spark Design Gallery.

Some of the 1+1+1 candlesticks on show at Spark Design Gallery.

The project started in March 2015 at Design March in Reykjavik with each studio designing a lamp. For Helsinki Design week in September the same year, the group took on a new object - the cabinet. For Stockholm Design Week 2016 the subject became a mirror and for Design March Reykjavik 2016 - the candlestick.

 Examples of some of the mirror combinations from the 1+1+1 project with a few of the lights in the background.

Examples of some of the mirror combinations from the 1+1+1 project with a few of the lights in the background.

Examples from the collection are being exhibited at the Spark Design Gallery in Reykjavik from March 3 to the 4th of April, 2016.

 The first collaboration off the rank - 1+1+1 LIGHTS. I have to admit that I like the original Aalto Aalto light in blue the best but a Mash Up comes in second - the hairy shade on the same powder blue Aalto Aalto base.

The first collaboration off the rank - 1+1+1 LIGHTS. I have to admit that I like the original Aalto Aalto light in blue the best but a Mash Up comes in second - the hairy shade on the same powder blue Aalto Aalto base.

Some of the Mash Ups from the first stage of the 1+1+1 Project exhibited in early 2015.

 The three original cabinet designs by (from left to right): Hugdetta, Petra Lilja and Aalto Aalto.

The three original cabinet designs by (from left to right): Hugdetta, Petra Lilja and Aalto Aalto.

The pairing of three parts of a candlestick or even a lamp seems logical enough but a cabinet? Yet the concept worked just as well for the larger item. By defining the measurements of the three segments the proportional balance between segments is maintained but the overall shape material palette and look varies wildly.

As a micro analysis of the differences between Nordic design styles it is quite interesting. You can see how similar but different the work of the three studios from Sweden, Finland and Iceland are. They remain compatible not only because of the set parameters of each design 'challenge' and the fact that they are all working on a singular object category but also because of a subtle Nordic design language that runs through all three studios.

The three original mirrors from the second phase of the 1+1+1 Project. Aalto Aalto from Finland on the left, Hugdetta from Iceland in the centre and Petra Lilja Sweden to the right.

 The full range of 27 mirrors from the third stage of the 1+1+1 Project.

The full range of 27 mirrors from the third stage of the 1+1+1 Project.

 A 1+1+1 Mash Up mirror with designers Petra Lilja (bottom), Klaus Aalto from Aalto Alto (left) and Snæbjörn Þór Stefansson from Hugdetta top right.

A 1+1+1 Mash Up mirror with designers Petra Lilja (bottom), Klaus Aalto from Aalto Alto (left) and Snæbjörn Þór Stefansson from Hugdetta top right.

The 1+1+1 Project was supported by the Nordisk Kulturfond and Arts Promotion Center Finland.

You can watch stop action films of the various Mash Ups on the 1+1+1 website here.

For more info on the participating designers click on their names below:

Hugdetta, Iceland, Aalto Aalto, Finland and Petra Lilja, Sweden